Anatomy of a Community Meltdown

Karoli, odd time signatures, Sept 10, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

It reads like a horror story, but it's a pretty good object lesson in how an online community can be seriously disrupted. And it should be noted that, while it's tempting to say that disruptions should be handled 'with authority' there may be very little that can be done. In this case, one person was handled with as much authority as possible - by being banned from the site. Two years later (!) she comes back with her response, enlisting the aid of an ally moderator to (apparently) wipe out the site. What's the real lesson here? In my view, it's - you can't control people online. Oh yeah, and back up your data!
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